Ai Shishime claimed the under 52kg crown as Japan won two gold medals for the second day in a row ©Getty Images

Japan continued their dominant start to the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Championships by securing both gold medals on offer for the second day in a row as Olympic champion Majlinda Kelmendi failed to finish on the podium here.

The Asian nation have now won the first four titles of the event after Ai Shishime, who stunned Kelmendi in the semi-finals, claimed the women's under 52 kilograms crown and team-mate Hifumi Abe triumphed in the under 66kg.

Kelmendi, Kosovo's first Olympic champion after she clinched the under 52kg gold at last year's Games in Rio de Janeiro, had been the overwhelming favourite before the event began.

The 26-year-old, world champion in 2013, had arrived in the Hungarian capital having won her previous 24 matches and crowned female judo athlete of the year at a special event on Sunday (August 26) but was upstaged by a superb display from Shishime.

Shishime was making her first World Championships appearance and marked it by sealing gold with victory in an all-Japanese final against world number 16 Natsumi Tsunoda.

Following a tense start to the match, Shishime seized her opportunity when it came as she threw her opponent for ippon after two-and-a-half minutes to record a commanding win.

"I’m very happy and relieved to win this World Championships," said Shishime. 

"No Japanese judoka has ever beaten Majlinda Kelmendi until today, which makes this gold even brighter."

Natalia Kuziutina won Russia's first medal of the event as she took bronze by beating Israel's Gili Cohen.

Olympic champion Majlinda Kelmendi, left, surprisingly ended outside of the medals ©Getty Images
Olympic champion Majlinda Kelmendi, left, surprisingly ended outside of the medals ©Getty Images

Kelmendi had the chance to salvage some pride and end the day on a positive note when she took on Brazil's Erika Miranda in the second bronze medal bout.

Sher looked edgy and never found her rhythm, allowing Miranda to score the crucial point to ensure she finished alongside Kuziutina on the podium.

Kelmendi had earlier been stunned in the last four by the Japanese in a match that lasted over nine minutes.

The contest went into a golden score period after the two judoka could not be separated in regulation time.

As the period went on, Shishime's confidence grew and she struck with deadly precision to score the match-deciding point.

Abe was among the favourites in the under 66kg division, tipped as one of the events to watch prior to the World Championships.

The field contained Olympic champion Fabio Basile of Italy, defending champion An Baul of South Korea and European champion Georgii Zantaraia of the Ukraine, with Abe seen as a dark horse.

The 20-year-old, the youngest winner in the history of the IJF Tokyo Grand Slam in 2016, proved his credentials throughout the competition as his challengers fell by the wayside.

Basile was dumped out by An in round three in a repeat of the Rio 2016 gold medal match, while Zantaraia exited the main draw at the quarter-final stage following defeat to Abe.

The rising Japanese prodigy demonstrated why he is considered a potential star in the sport and secured his first world title in style by claiming victory by ippon over Russian Mikhail Puliaev.

Zantaraia suffered more disappointment in the last eight as he lost to Israel's Tal Flicker in the second bronze medal contest.

Hifumi Abe continued the Japanese dominance by taking gold at under 66kg ©Getty Images
Hifumi Abe continued the Japanese dominance by taking gold at under 66kg ©Getty Images

The other bronze medal in the division went to 2016 European champion Vazha Margvelashvili of Georgia, who beat South Korea's Kim Lim-hwan.

The World Championships are due to continue here tomorrow with the preliminaries and finals in the women's under 57kg and men's under 73kg events.

Rafaela Silva of Brazil, winner of the Olympic gold medal in the category at Rio 2016, is among the headline names due to compete on the third day of competition.

Silva, the first female world champion from Brazil with her triumph in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, has been one of the most active judoka on the circuit since the Olympics and is widely expected to add the world crown to her collection tomorrow.

Japan could earn a fifth gold medal when world number one Soichi Hashimoto, currently on a 25-match winning streak and unbeaten since 2015, participates at 73kg.

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